Toughen and enforce animal control laws

This petition made change with 311 supporters!

Just recent terrible news shook our neighborhood. Some pit bulls hopped their invisible fence and killed a neighbors family goat and badly wounded the same family's pony. A few nights later they returned and finished off the pony after all. Luckily they did not get any of the neighborhood children.

As it turns out, dogs of that same owner have been involved in attacks before. As it turns out, animal control laws did not allow for the animal control officers to take the dogs after they killed the goat and wounded the pony, which allowed the dogs to return for their second attack.

Is this a mal-functioning of the system?? It was bad enough it involved someone's animals, but the attack could have easily involved someone's child(ren) or an adult.

When browsing the Internet we can read numerous stories of dogs attacking other animals, children, and even adults. Often leading to scarring for life, sometimes disabilities, and unfortunately even death. Not to mention the emotional scars it leaves. Improperly trained dogs that do go out and do these things are not a problem of the dog. The problem is the owner who is not properly restraining and training his or her dog.

Many people feel fear creeping up when walking their neighborhoods if there are dogs on properties where there is no fence or the gate is left open. Bicyclists are all too often a target for dogs chasing them on the public roads.

Further reading shows that even unruly barking dogs have lead to people drawing guns over their sleepless nights and frustration. That is just another example of dog owners not properly training and constraining their dogs, leading to much more severe issues than needed. Plenty of studies have proven the negative impact on health and happiness when living with too frequent noise pollution.

All combined, whether it is unruly barking, dogs roaming neighborhoods, dogs chasing cars or bicyclists, or full-on attacks, dog owners should be held responsible. Not after the fact, not after someone got scarred for life or killed, but in advance.

Currently there are laws in place in Santa Fe County that should prevent dogs owners from letting their dogs be out of control. However, as anyone who has ever dealt with this can tell you, animal control or police all too often do not respond to any calls regarding this. They are busy, underfunded and especially the police force has "more important" things to do. Animal control laws are very much written in favor of the owners of the animals, even though they might seem restrictive.

To create more funding Santa Fe County animal control raised registration fees on dogs. Some fines went up slightly. Those properly training and restraining their dogs are paying pretty much the same as those who break the law. That is unfair and does not teach irresponsible dog owners anything.

We feel that in order to teach dog owners to control their dogs more drastic changes need to take place. It is for that reason we would like to send our County Commissioner a message that things need to change.

We ask Santa Fe County Commissioner Miguel M. Chavez to dramatically increase the fines on dog owners who do not control their dogs. This steep increase would create funding to help to actually reinforce the laws. Next to this we feel that if a dog has shown any form of attack towards another animal or a human (except for when this takes place on the property of the dog owner in defense of the property), that the animal should be detained right away, with the owner paying all accompanying costs next to the fines. Generally, animal control laws need to be reviewed. The law should allow for those who are bothered by unruly dogs to provide evidence (video, photo, audio, or multiple neighbors making the same claim), to be able to request strong intervention from animal control or police.

If you agree to the requested changes mentioned, please sign this petition. The message will be send directly to the Miguel M. Chavez, the Santa Fe County Commissioner.

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